Captain Louisa Hruska stood curious and alert on the bridge of the USS Sydney. On screen was a badly damaged Romulan warbird. In the background shone the purple radiance of the Issian Nebula – a nebula, aside from its attractive façade, was really unremarkable. Up until now at least. A Romulan ship adrift in the nebula's vicinity made it far more interesting.
"Report," said Hruska, with a noticeable tinge of anticipation in her voice. The ship was damaged, but it was still Romulan, and that meant there was always more going on than it appeared.
"An Imperial Class Warbird, sir," calmly responded Lt. Elsberry from Tactical. "No shields. Weapons offline. Cloak disabled. Propulsion systems critically damaged."
After a short pause, Elsberry replied, "Seven. All Romulan."
Hruska, along with everyone else on the bridge, was stunned. "Seven?"
"Sir, a ship of this class normally has a complement of 1,300 people," informed Chief of Operations Lt. Haff.
"Yes, I know this," said Captain Hruska, slightly annoyed. She counted on her crew giving her new information, not telling her things that she already knew.
"Sir, if something traumatic did happen, and there are only seven people left alive, the psychological damage suffered could be enormous," said Counselor Morgan who was clearly taken aback by the situation. For someone who had never met a Romulan before, the assessment seemed plausible.
"Romulans are more resilient than you think, Chris. Don't be so quick to show them empathy." It was clear from her past dealings and her time as a Romulan prisoner that Hruska had no love for the species. "But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Elsberry, are there any Romulans on their bridge?"
"There may be one, but it is hard to get an exact reading. There is a radiation leak in that area causing sensor interference."
"Let's try hailing them anyway. Open a channel."
"Channel open, sir."
"Unidentified Romulan Vessel, this is Captain Louisa Hruska of the Federation Starship Sydney. Your deep intrusion into Federation space is a violation of treaty. Please state your intentions."
"Sir, I believe it would be more appropriate to offer medical assistance," advised Morgan.
"Chris, let me handle this. I know how to talk to Romulans. You can't let your guard down around them regardless of the situation," said Hruska with a tense voice.
"Sir, with all due respect, I believe you are letting your previous encounters with Romulans cloud your judgment."
"Chris, this is not the time for your psycho bullshit! These are Romulans!" snapped Hruska. Everyone was astonished by this sudden outburst. Hruska glared at Morgan, then returned her attention to the view screen.
Timidly, Chris gave a "yes, sir," then resolved to monitor the Captain's behavior closely. It was his job to advise the Captain, and it was his duty to assess her state of mind in critical situations.
"Sir, the Romulan ship is responding to our hail." Lt. Elsberry calmly related the information. Nothing seemed to startle him, and that's one reason why Hruska liked him.
A poorly-broadcasted picture of the Romulan bridge started to appear on screen. The image was out of focus and unstable, and Hruska could barely make out the outline of a humanoid.
"Can you clean this up, Elsberry?"
"Modulating frequency variance."
That helped. On screen, in a shadow, was a Romulan officer. Fire and smoke seemed to come from all sides, but not close enough to hurt the Romulan.
"Romulan officer this is Captain Loui…"
"Louisa Hruska, I know. I believe we've met before." Emerging along with the voice was a woman with a sly grin on her face. "How nice of you to pay us a visit."
Hruska stepped back and was speechless.
=/\= End Log =/\=